Mansfield Fuming Over Smoke Shop

Some Mansfield residents say a new smoke shop set to open later this month is too close for comfort.

Marley'z Lounge is a business opportunity for Andries Sheperd; a chance to work for himself. But nearby residents say the smoke and hookah shop will bring the wrong type of people to their quiet neighborhood.

"We don't want this kind of business coming into to Mansfield," Trish Johnson said.

The shop is set to open in mid-June, and a group of residents plan to protest during the store's grand opening.

"We're going to sell tobacco products, tobacco, rolling papers, tobacco pipes," Sheperd said.

But residents such as Johnson say, where there is smoke, there's fire.

"We have a drug war in this country," Johnson said. "We don't wish to be providing drug paraphernalia to increase that type of behavior."

Residents said they are concerned the shop will sell K2, which is legally sold as incense, but often smoked to get a high. But Sheperd said he isn't planning on carrying K2.

"If the market proves that is something I should sell, then I'll get it, but right now I haven't considered selling K2," he said.

Sheperd is opening the shop with his business partner, Zahid Rao, who owns the strip center where Marley'z Lounge will be located. Residents plan to boycott the entire strip center.

"That's the way to get the head shop to be closed, by boycotting the whole corner," Johnson said.

Sheperd said he understands their concerns but is simply trying to run a business.

"Everybody that walks in gets their IDs checked no matter what -- it's Texas law," Sheperd said. "I wouldn't risk what I have to serve a 17-year-old or a 16-year-old."

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